Medical technology is making it possible to stave off death ever longer but, for some people with serious health problems, without much quality of life. Palliative care, also using ever more sophisticated medical interventions, can usually minimise pain and other symptoms. Nevertheless, some individuals experience severe ongoing suffering, whether from pain, breathlessness, nausea, indignity or lack of autonomy. They would rather die sooner than later.
For these reasons, euthanasia has become more significant as a social issue. Most church leaders are strongly opposed and so are most governments, though opinion polls show strong support, typically 70 percent or so in favour.